What is the Lowest Salary in the NHL? {2022-23}

National Hockey League (NHL) is one of the biggest hockey tournaments in Northern America. Though this tournament isn’t as big as other sports leagues in the US, a humungous budget is allocated yearly to the hockey association. 

The salary of an NHL player depends upon their record performance and popularity among the audience. If a player is a household name and portrays solid gameplay, he can easily make millions through each tournament. 

While some NHL players enjoy heights of success and extensive paychecks, a few NHL teams and players don’t even receive the average wage and thus are categorized as the least-paid players. 

If you want to know more about who is the lowest-paid NHL player and what is the discrepancy between the league minimum and the maximum is, then check out the following context. Here you will find a detailed guide on NHL’s least-paid stars and why they are being paid so low.

What is the Lowest pay in the NHL?

The NHL and NHLPA associations are responsible for assigning the league’s budget, and it also decides the minimum salary for the tournament. A four-year contract is signed between the association and the players. The agreement determines the player’s pay and tenure with the team. 

According to the contract, the salary remains the same for the first two years, and if the player wants an extension in the contract, then the wage is slightly increased. Currently, the lowest salary in the NHL is about $750,000. If the agreement extends, then by 2024, this minimum NHL wage will be increased to $800,000. 

The minimum NHL wage is increased after every two years so that the players get justified. The following table aptly illustrates the NHL’s minimum salary rate progression over the past few years. 

NHL Contract YearMinimum Salary of NHL Players 
2013 to 2015$550,000
2015 to 2017$575,000
2017 to 2019$650,000
2019 to 2021$700,000
2021 to 2023$750,000
2023 to 2025$800,000 

Related Post: How Much Do NHL Coaches Get Paid?

Who makes the League minimum? 

The following are a few categories in NHL, which often receive the lowest wage in the session. 

  • Rookie players who are new in the session and are just getting started in the league get the lowest salary during the first few years. They receive the lowest salary according to the first standard contract. Young players like Morgan Geekie, Zatch Whitecloud, and Nico Sturm are among a few rookies that have signed the first standard contract and are receiving the lowest salary in the league.
  • Veteran players who are at the end of their careers and might retire soon also receive the lowest salary in the tournament. They agree to the lowest salary to stick around the NHL league. 
  • Players who haven’t been performing well or whose team hasn’t been making it into the finals for the past few years are also offered the lowest wage in the NHL session.  
  • Tweeners are those in the NHL who are considered potent for playing minor games but aren’t good enough to be categorized as regular in the NHL session. The tweeners also often receive the lowest income in the NHL because they do not have a long-term contract with the NHL association. 

Usually, those players make the league’s minimum who are not household names. Some of these players are on trial, and their salaries might increase depending on their future performance. 

The veterans usually do not participate fully in games. Instead, they are included in the team for their seniority and may also play as a replacement. However, some veteran players are at the end of their careers and might not be performing in the future. Such players are also hired at the league’s lowest salary rates. 

How many Players in the NHL make the League Minimum?

About 9% of the NHL players are currently receiving the league’s minimum salary. There are a total of 98 players out of 700 players who have been offered $750,000 for the 2022 NHL session. 

Previous year only 68 players- about 9.71% of NHL players were receiving the league’s lowest salary. But due to the economic inflation aroused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the association had to pay 30 more NHL players the lowest wages. These steps have been taken to keep the budget of the NHL as minimum as possible. 

Related Post: What is the average salary for an NHL player?

List of players who make the League minimum

The lowest salary this year in the NHL is being received by Yannick Webber, Dmytro Timashov, Craig Anderson, and Andy Greene. The following is a list of a few NHL players accepting the lowest salaries in the league in 2022. 

Players Teams
Yannick WebberNSH
Dmytro TimashovNYI
Craig AndersonWSH
Andy GreeneNYI
Fredrick Claesson SJS

Some notable names like Ryan Maclniss, Max McCormick, Drew Shore, and Sheldon Rempal will also get the lowest salary this NHL season. 

What is the Discrepancy between League Minimum and Maximum?

Each team in the NHL season consists of 23 players and has been allocated $81.5 million in their cap space. Thus, on average, each player should receive around $3.5 million for every NHL session. 

But there indeed exists a discrepancy between the salaries of an NHL players. Depending upon the popularity and gameplay, some players receive maximum wages while a few have to survive on the lowest salary rates. 

The maximum salary rate 2022-23 season in the NHL league is around $16.3 million, which is 20% higher than the average salary of the NHL. While the minimum salary rate is about $750,000, and it is also about 20% less than the average wage in the league. The association has agreed that the salary of an NHL player can neither be less than 20% less nor 20% more than the average wage rate.

However, in 2022, no player is receiving this maximum salary rate due to the COVID-19 economic restrictions. Oiler C Conner McDavid has signed a $100 million 8-year contract and is the highest-paid NHL player in 2022. He is receiving about $15 million for the 2022 session. 

His contract is under yearly renewal and will undergo increment again next year. The top three players, McDavid, Travers, and Mathews, make around $45 every NHL session, equivalent to the salary of 65 least-paid players. 

NHL League minimum versus other sports 

Though the NHL is not an extremely popular sports association in the US, it has much better wage rates than other sports. The following table aptly describes the difference between the NHL league minimum and other leagues’ lowest salaries. 

LeagueMinimum Salary
NHL $750,000

Conclusion: What is the Lowest Salary in the NHL?

Over the years, the NHL association has tried to improve the league’s minimum salaries so that the players get justified. That is why the NHL’s least salary rates are much better than other sports’ wages in the US. 

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